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February 26, 2019

New letter urges Prez Trump "to make lasting reforms to the clemency process by removing its administration from the Department of Justice"

A number of notable folks signed on to this new letter urging Prez Trump to make changes to the federal clemency process.  Here are excerpts from the letter:

Last year, you achieved a historic accomplishment when you signed the First Step Act into law.  This new law will reduce the imposition of unjust sentences for thousands of Americans, allowing people who make a mistake the opportunity to make amends and turn their lives around.

The law primarily addresses future sentencing, however, and does little to correct the unjust nature of past sentences that have left many behind bars for far longer than their crimes warranted.  But you can deliver justice for those Americans by making full use of the pardon power for as many deserving individuals as possible and by reforming the structure of the federal clemency process to improve presidential exercise of this important constitutional authority.

During the last administration, former law enforcement officials and criminal justice reform advocates urged President Barack Obama to use his pardon power aggressively.  While President Obama's clemency initiative did lead to hundreds of deserving individuals receiving commutations, he left thousands more behind when he left office.  When President Obama‚Äôs term expired, approximately 9,400 clemency petitions remained pending.  Thousands of other individuals saw their petitions denied, despite many of them meeting most or all of the conditions the Obama administration laid out for clemency eligibility.  Furthermore, his administration never even fully considered granting sweeping clemency to broad categories of people who also deserved clemency but may not have known how to obtain an attorney or petition for relief....

[W]e urge you to make lasting reforms to the clemency process by removing its administration from the Department of Justice.  The Constitution grants the clemency power solely to the president.  There is no constitutional or legal requirement that it be overseen by DOJ.  While DOJ should be able to comment on clemency petitions, there is an obvious conflict of interest when the same agency responsible for prosecuting individuals is asked to supervise their petitions for clemency.  By changing the management of the clemency process, you could improve a process not only for your time in office, but also for your successors.  President Obama failed to fix the clemency process and instead opted to for an ad hoc approach, leaving behind thousands of people who otherwise met the stated criteria.  You can succeed where he did not and leave a lasting legacy in this area.

February 26, 2019 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

Comments

Clemency Project 2014 was an undelivered promise to thousands. The is the proclamation by President Ford that serves as a blueprint for establishing a Clemency Board within the White House. https://lifeforpot.blogspot.com/

Posted by: beth | Feb 26, 2019 6:10:18 PM

Sounds good but it is not an easy task. I realize that the President has been extremely busy trying to save our Country. Because of biased Judges, Attorney's, and Juror's there are many innocent one time offenders in Prison. Many have been accused of crimes by unhappy spouses, and jilted girlfriends - no evidence or proof of any kind. The world has changed "Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness" has no meaning anymore and no punishment!

The Courts require you to tell the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth but the Attorney's say just answer yes or no. How do you do both?

Posted by: LC in Texas | Mar 2, 2019 5:09:43 PM

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